South Sudan is a landlocked country that claimed its independence in 2011, making it the world’s newest nation. Sudan is in the north, Ethiopia is to its east, and there are four other countries that border it. According to Samaritan’s Purse, there’s a level 4 famine occurring in the country, which means, “Widespread social breakdown; markets close; survival strategies widespread; affected population identifies food scarcity as the major societal problem.”
Pray For South Sudan & South Sudanese Christians
The tension caused a recent scare for Samaritan Purse aid workers in March. Eight workers were taken by rebels in the assumption that they would be freed if aid was given. Thankfully, the workers were released without violence or any form of payment. The situation does exemplify why South Sudan is in need of prayer.
With more than 5.5 million people starving or nearly starving, Neil Corkery of the Sudan Relief Fund says that the church is the, “only functioning institution in civil society.” As a result of the situation, more than 2.5 million people are now refugees in neighboring countries. The sad truth is that the famine is due to misappropriations and conflict among rebel factions caught in civil war since 2013, not to mention the situations well before the founding of South Sudan just a few years ago.
Christians in South Sudan have suffered greatly. The Sudan Relief Fund states that since 1998 when they formed the fund, “2.2 million people have perished as the direct result of a campaign of genocide against South Sudan’s Christian and non-Muslim population- a death toll greater than all the victims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Rwanda combined. Without hesitation President Bashir’s government has bombed churches, schools, hospitals and refugee centers.”
There are very good things going on amid all the anguish. Last February, the Catholic bishops in the country issued a statement that challenged the government to act. We should continue to pray that there message might move leaders to actually facilitate change. Also, since 2014, the US has provided $2 billion a year for aid. This certainly helps. But Corkery rightly says that the ones making the true impact are Christian missionaries. “These people are looking at the long-term solution in terms of the eternal scheme of things, people’s souls,” he says.
Samaritan’s Purse reports the work happened in health provision, including the Maban County Hospital staffed by local Sudanese and working with many villages to drill for good water. They also cite work in a local Bible college and among churches as evidence that the Holy Spirit is indeed moving in both the physical and spiritual provisions of the people.
There is much to report in this section of Africa – in South Sudan and in its neighboring countries. There are indeed many items of prayer too. Pray for South Sudan. Pray for the Sudanese Christians who are working as Jesus did, among the very needy. Pray that their two fishes and five loaves might be multiplied. Pray for the President Salva Kiir. Pray for the rebel factions. Pray that God’s hand might restore the land for the sake of the millions of innocent people who reap what the warring parties have sown.
Of you want to see more, please click here for a short video about the conflict produced by Vox.